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VIEWPOINT: Foster the children
by Kim Flowers
2013-06-12

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I'm not an avid TV watcher, but I'm already in love with The Fosters. A police officer and high school vice principal raise biological, adopted, and foster children while dealing with the trials of life in a realistic and touching way. Even if the couple were a man and woman, I would still have a special place in my heart for this show, but since they're an inter-racial lesbian couple with multi-racial foster kids this makes it more unique, and of course presents more challenges. Being a foster parent is on my bucket list, and my first novel No Turning Back is about a teen lesbian who runs away from a foster home in search of her brother. Foster care in this country is an issue that still needs addressed today, and sibling groups especially face difficulties in permanent home placement, and sometimes with being able to stay together. Many gay people would love to adopt or foster kids that need homes, but for some, the law makes this extremely difficult.

In states such as Utah, Nebraska, Arkansas and North Dakota, discriminatory laws make fostering a child if you are gay either difficult or impossible. While equal marriage is stirring up the news, opponents' rallying cry is that gay couples should not have rights for the sake of our nation's children. But thousands of children in the United States need homes ... if people really care about these kids, why can't they see that gay couples or singles could provide desperately needed love and care?

According to AdoptUSKids.org, my home state of Indiana has 9,294 children in foster care; Illinois has a staggering 19,431. Many of these children are also eligible for adoption. It is legal in both Illinois and Indiana for same sex couples to foster and adopt, but that doesn't mean it's always an easy road. The best news is when residents of the state adopt a child from Illinois foster care, adoption is free.

A show like The Fosters could be a great tool to raise awareness for what all kinds of foster parents and kids go through, illuminating a system that may not be broken, just overwhelmed because of need. Author Ericka Simpson says, "(I have seen) so much negativity toward ABC Family and the new show The Fosters, but not one word about ABC's new show Mistresses? Really? We hate on lesbian parents who open their homes to adopt and foster children, but we indulge in a show that promotes adultery. Which show is really destroying the sanctity of marriage and family?"

It's not often a TV show brings tears to my eyes, or that I can actually watch an entire episode. But The Fosters is putting a cause close to my heart in the spotlight and I have high hopes for the program, and our future. Equal marriage rights in this country could be the first step toward helping more gay couples and needy kids find the families they have been seeking. We must tell those who oppose us that the rights we need are definitely for the children.

BIO: Kim Flowers is an award-winning author from Anderson, Ind. kimflowersbooks.weebly.com .


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